But in the poll, a large portion of Mr Biden’s voters did not express an actively positive view of their candidate. Forty-two percent of the probable voters expressed a favorable opinion towards it and 42% unfavorable.
The poll is an outlier in this regard, as a number of other high-quality polls in Pennsylvania in recent weeks, including one from the New York Times and Siena College, have shown Mr Biden’s favorability to meet or exceed 50%. But as recently as mid-September, most of those same polling stations had shown that less than half of voters expressed a favorable opinion of Mr Biden.
Christopher P. Borick, a political science professor at Muhlenberg who heads his polling institute, said the results brought back the nuances of 2016, when both candidates were widely hated, but Mr. Trump managed to convince voters to swing that Mrs. Clinton was the worst option. . “It’s no surprise, when you look at the president’s campaign and his efforts to bring down Biden, that he thinks this is the way again,” Dr Borick said.
The main difference is that Mr. Biden did not face the same antipathy as Ms. Clinton, who was not loved by an equal share of Pennsylvania voters like Mr. Trump. The president’s attempts to escalate Mr. Biden’s negative views – including his misleading accusation that, if elected, the former vice president will ban fracking in Pennsylvania – have so far failed successful.
In 2018, Democrats won four House seats in Pennsylvania, mostly in the suburbs, and Mr. Trump is struggling in those areas. Mr Biden made it a primary focus, as he did on Saturday, when he spoke in Dallas Township, a Wilkes-Barre suburb, hammering Mr Trump for his handling of the coronavirus crisis .
But polls show Mr Biden has yet to fully capitalize on easing support for Mr Trump. Averaging the results of the most recent Times / Siena and Morning Call / Muhlenberg polls in suburban Philadelphia, Mr. Trump questions nine points behind the share he received in the 2016 exit polls, but Mr. Biden is just three points ahead of Ms. Clinton’s Total among this group.
The fact that he has yet to match Ms. Clinton’s share of support in Philadelphia proper is troubling Mr. Biden in a different way. By averaging the results of the two recent polls, he has the support of 73% of Philadelphia voters, up from 83% for Ms. Clinton in 2016. According to the Times / Siena poll, Mr. Trump was supported by 24% of Philadelphians, nine points ahead of its 2016 exit poll numbers.